Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz too. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



Eric Krasner came to Cleveland to make a movie about Mickey Katz, the Cleveland-born klezmer clarinetist and comedian.

Eric wanted to see where Mickey was born, and where Mickey’s wife grew up, and maybe where Mickey’s father’s tailor shop had been.  I said to Eric, “I’m not a filmmaker — and I don’t want to tell you what to do — but if you want another opinion, I don’t think you should show every place Mickey took a shit.”

We went to the old Euclid Avenue Temple (now Liberty Hill Baptist Church), where Mickey was married in 1930.  Eric — teasing me — filmed the men’s room and said, “This is where Mickey urinated after his wedding.”

mickey katz 1959Eric asked why Katz (1909-1985) isn’t more acclaimed in his hometown.

For one thing, nobody has ever heard of Mickey Katz!  Mickey is not LeBron, or Superman, or Pekar, or Bob Hope. (All local boys.)  Katz was Joel Grey’s father and Jennifer Grey’s grandfather.

Eric and I went to Glenville, an inner-city neighborhood where Mickey spent his teenage years. We found the Glenville Hall of Fame. Mickey didn’t have a plaque.

One aspect of Eric’s movie — my guess here — is, why doesn’t Mickey have a plaque of some sort — a street, a “Mickey Katz Way” — in his hometown?

mickey katzEric found Mickey’s birthplace near E. 51 and Woodland by the Ohio Food terminal.  Sawtell Court — the actual street where Mickey was born — doesn’t exist anymore. It’s a grassy field. Eric drew a sign, “Birthplace of Mickey Katz 1909,” and put it on a fence.

Eric drove all the way from Maryland to film that sign.  I hope the movie, minus the urinal, happens.

Yiddishe Cup plays New Year’s Eve at Akron (Ohio) First Night.  9:30 p.m, John S. Knight Convention Center.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Bill Jones { 12.17.14 at 12:08 pm }

You can’t begin to count the Cleveland celebrities of the 20th Century who are totally off almost everyone’s radar/memory. You listed them in your article, above.

Wonder if flammability of Ralph Perk’s hair & the Cuyahoga are remembered by even a small cohort.

2 Ken Goldberg { 12.18.14 at 10:10 am }

He probably urinated there before the wedding, too….

3 Jeanne Swack { 12.19.14 at 8:57 pm }

My grandfather’s sister Minnie was married to Katz’s wife’s brother Dave. We grew up listening to the Mish-Mosh record. We had it memorized and we would dance to it, and our parents and grandparents would be howling. I still remember “Don’t let the schmaltz get in your eyes, don’t let the lox get in your socks.”

4 Ken Goldberg { 12.22.14 at 10:09 pm }

I think very highly of the ’60s records: “You Don’t Have to be Jewish” and “When You’re In Love the Whole World’s Jewish.”

5 David Korn { 12.24.14 at 11:53 am }

Now that I see the album cover I realize that Mish-Mosh was in my parents’ record collection when I was a kid. I remember how hungry I got when I saw that salami and those knockwursts.

6 Dave Rowe { 01.05.15 at 9:06 pm }

Mickey Katz on the East Side, we on the West Side grew up trying to be as cool as Michael Stanley. Many’s the night we spent drinking 3.2 beer, hearing him at the Agora, not at the time realizing that with a guitar and a crush we could do basically the same thing.

So Michael never did quite make the BIG time. He’s had a pretty good run with reunions and the radio show, hope they give the guy a nice retirement party

Leave a Comment